Okay I have been a ham for 48 years and made countless contacts over the years , but never had any interesting in collecting cards or awards .
Recently after looking at my log book I saw very little actual on the air activity in the past few years , even though I try to work on the bench almost every day . I have also built countless projects , but just use them for a few contacts to make sure they work correctly and give them away or put them on the shelf . I do operate different types of beacons on a fairly regular basis.
Two or three months ago I decided to reset my QSO counter to zero and go after every special event , contest , any special piece of paper , for WAS , DXCC , VUCC any award in the books on any band from 160 though 432 MHz. on any and all modes possible .
I bought the entire N3FJP group of logging programs , and set up LOTW , to keep track of all the different awards . I also belong to E-QSL and QRZ , plus of course the ARRL .
What is the best way today to collect cards both domestic and foreign ? To me it is looking like direct might still be the best . From what I read on the E-QSL site , the ARRL doesn't accept their QSL's for awards .
However LOTW has such a low rate of confirmation , it is almost not worth the time to even log them and upload / download the contacts . I just took a quick look at 50 contacts in July and only 4 of them have been confirmed through LOTW . E-QSL has a MUCH higher confirmation rate , but again should I even be wasting my time doing uploads and downloads from them if the ARRL is not going to recognize them .
Any thoughts or suggestions on how to maximize my QSO confirmations in today's world would be greatly appreciated . I am hoping some of you can teach this old dog some new tricks .
Thanks and I hope I don't sound too ignorant for someone who has enjoyed the hobby for this many wonderful years and now has an even greater newly acquired interest in operating and having fun at it once again .
Charlie , W5COV